Mariska Hargitay Inks New Deal to Return to ‘Law & Order: SVU’

It's official: Detective Olivia Benson will be back.

Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal with studio Universal Television to return to NBC's long-running procedural Law & Order: SVU, the actress announced Saturday.

"Happy weekend. It's official. Season 15--I'LL BE BACK!" she announced via Twitter page.  

NBC renewed Law & Order: SVU in late April in anticipation that Hargitay would return.

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Wednesday's season 14 finale left the door open for Hargitay's Benson, with the character last seen at home -- not expected to return to work for two days and being held at gunpoint by serial rapist the team had been attempting to take down.

Over the years, rumor has swirled on whether she would continue on with the Dick Wolf procedural with buzz about a reduced role put to rest every year.

SVU has averaged a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 in its Wednesday time slot. Heading into its 15th season, the show is not the juggernaut it once was but remains a consistent performer on a night that has been problematic for NBC. It will return to the Wednesdays at 9 p.m. slot in the fall, where it will largely face the same competition from Criminal Minds and American Idol/The X Factor.

Hargitay is repped by CAA.

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Lesley Goldberg